Despite Brooke Hogan’s blond hair, dance skills and aspirations for teen-pop stardom, a couple of major differences stand between Britney Spears and the 16-year-old Floridian.
First, Brooke’s dad could definitely beat up Britney’s dad.
That’s because Mr. Hogan stands at 6’6″, tips the scales at over 250 pounds, and is known around the world by the nickname “Hulk.” Rather than follow in her daddy’s extra-large footsteps, though, Brooke is breaking out with a music career. Although she may not possess the Hulkster’s signature leg drop or penchant for tearing a shirt to shreds at the drop of a hat, Brooke did inherit daddy’s attraction to the spotlight.
“I was real young when I realized what and who my dad was,” Brooke explained. “He was an icon, and I kind of realized that when I started seeing all these people asking for his autograph. I was just like, ’Dad, so many people love you. What did you do to make this happen?’ And that’s when he explained the whole wrestling thing to me, and what he did, and how it was all on television.
“But when I saw how people loved him, and how people were attracted to him, I wanted that same thing … but without the bumps and bruises. That’s not my bag.”
Instead, Brooke’s bag is singing, dancing and playing the piano and guitar. After being discovered by boy-band Svengali Lou Pearlman, the man responsible for launching the careers of ’NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, her debut album, Brooke Hogan: This Voice, is scheduled to drop September 21. Its first single, “Everything to Me,” is expected to surface at radio this week. A video for the song was shot last month by director Nigel Dick (Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys). In it, the talented teenager plays a high school cheerleader who, just by her mere presence on the field, distracts the star football player into dropping passes like a butter-fingered freshman.
But before a parallel can be drawn between Hogan’s cheerleader clip and the one that launched Britney’s career, “… Baby One More Time,” in which Spears was dressed in a skimpy school uniform, consider the other major difference between Brooke and Britney: The former says she won’t let her sex appeal overshadow her talents.
“I know people are going to think that I’m a pop tart that has overproduced music, can’t sing, is not really playing the piano, and just is a dancer who looks good,” she confessed. “But the great thing is that I can be all of that, be what Britney was times 10, with the real deal added on, and people are going to see that. People can [prejudge] me all they want, but once they finally see me, they’re going to be like, ’Oh dang. I misjudged her. She’s not fake.’
“It’s great that you look good, you can dance, you can even sing, but it all comes down to that one unplugged version, where you’re just sitting there with your guitar, your piano, and just your voice, without any mixing or any effects. That’s showing people your real talent.”
So far, Hogan’s career hasn’t launched entirely on her own merits. Cable channels don’t give just any rising young star their own reality TV show, like VH1 is doing with “(Inside) Out: Hulk Hogan, Stage Dad,” which premiered Thursday, without some preconceptions. And just any pretty face who can carry a tune doesn’t get the opportunity to open local shows for Hilary Duff and perform at the Radio Disney festival.
The root of these gifts isn’t lost on Hogan, who was born Brooke Bollea, and she’s just fine with the fact that she was fortunate enough to be born into wrestling royalty.
“I’m not going to lie; it grabs people’s attention,” Hogan said of her adoption of her father’s pseudonym. “It creates a buzz, and that’s great. But people would criticize me if I didn’t use my dad’s name, like I’m embarrassed of being his daughter. [And using it], people are going to criticize me and say, ’Oh, she’s just using her dad’s name,’ or ’Oh, she’s just getting this push from her dad,’ but he can open the door, and I’m the one who has to walk through it. And it’ll slam right back in my face if I can’t.”